Trump, the National Climate Assessment report, and fake news

The New York Times recently obtained a draft of the up-coming National Climate Assessment report. NYT is worried that the Trump administration will suppress the report. However, according to scientists who worked on the report, it has been available online since last January. (See Daily Caller story) You can download the 545-page 3rd draft report here, but don’t bother.

Besides the “fake news” story in the New York Times, we have a “fake news” story from the Associated Press printed by the Arizona Daily Star. Within that story is this sentence: Contradicting Trump’s claims that climate change is a “hoax,” the draft report representing the consensus of 13 federal agencies concludes that the evidence global warming is being driven by human activities is “unambiguous.”

Definition of unambiguous: “Admitting of no doubt or misunderstanding; having only one meaning or interpretation and leading to only one conclusion.”

Because of that statement and this one: “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible.” — Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC, I downloaded the report to see just how unambiguous the evidence is. Here is what I found.

1) All their evidence consists of computer modeling. There is no physical evidence. That’s just like the previous National Climate Assessment report. They are, in essence, claiming that evidence of warming is evidence of the cause of warming.

2) On page 139, they discuss how they attribute causes:

Detection and attribution of climate change involves assessing the causes of observed changes in the climate system through systematic comparison of climate models and observations using various statistical methods. An attributable change refers to a change in which the relative contribution of causal factors has been evaluated along with an assignment of statistical confidence.

3) Beginning on page 144, they discuss “major uncertainties.” Oops, not so “unambiguous.”

The transient climate response (TCR) is defined as the global mean surface temperature change at the time of CO2 doubling in a 1%/year CO2 transient increase experiment. The TCR of the climate system to greenhouse gas increases remains uncertain, with ranges of 0.9° to 2.0°C (1.6° to 3.6°F) and 0.9° to 2.5°C (1.6° to 4.5°F) in two recent assessments. The climate system response to aerosol forcing (direct and indirect effects combined) remains highly uncertain, because although more of the relevant processes are being in included in models, confidence in these representations remains low. Therefore, there is considerable uncertainty in quantifying the attributable warming contributions of greenhouse gases and aerosols separately. There is uncertainty in the possible levels of internal climate variability, but current estimates likely  range of +/- 0.1°C, or 0.2°F, over 60 years) would have to be too low by more than a factor or two or three for the observed trend to be explainable by internal variability.

Does that sound like the evidence is unambiguous?

“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” – Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

UPDATE: The material above refers to the third draft of the report. The fifth draft has just become available. One analyst noticed “that the latest draft climate report, published in June, had seemingly left out a rather embarrassing table from the Executive Summary, one that had previously been written into the Third Draft, published last December.” What has been omitted is the fact “that the hottest temperatures, (averaged over the US), were not only much, much higher in the 1930s. They were also higher during the 1920s. Indeed there have been many other years with higher temperatures than most of the recent ones.” (Source)

I would not call it a hoax as does President Trump; I’d call it a scam. The National Climate Assessment itself is fake news; a political, rather than a scientific document.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair.

Additional reading:

Alan Carlin, a former senior EPA analyst, says computer models fail because: The bottom-up GCM was a bad approach from the start and should never have been paid for by the taxpayers. All that we have are computer models that were designed and then tuned to lead to the IPCC’s desired answers and have had a difficult time even doing that.

So not only are the results claiming that global temperatures are largely determined by atmospheric CO2 wrong, but the basic methodology is useless. Climate is a coupled, non-linear chaotic system, and the IPCC agrees that this is the case. It cannot be usefully modeled by using necessarily limited models which assume the opposite. Read more

Dr. Tim Ball: Uncovered: decades-old government report showing climate data was bad, unfit for purpose. In 1999, the National Academy of Sciences, the research arm of the National Research Council, released a study expressing concern about the accuracy of the data used in the debate over climate change. They said there are,

“Deficiencies in the accuracy, quality and continuity of the records,” that “place serious limitations on the confidence that can be placed in the research results.”

See also:

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists – where is the physical evidence

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

My comments on the previous National Climate Assessment: